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Home Main Forums Latest Breaking News Petrochemical giants dumped deadly carcinogens during Hurricane Harvey-WSWS

  • Ohio Barbarian (8976 posts)
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    Petrochemical giants dumped deadly carcinogens during Hurricane Harvey-WSWS

    As Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey bore down on and flooded the northern Gulf Coast last month with an estimated 20 trillion gallons of rain, some 60 plants belonging to the world’s petrochemical giants on the Texas coast began shutdown procedures. During this time they vented and dumped almost a million pounds of some of the most deadly chemical compounds on earth.

    “Total air pollutants from all oil and gas facilities added up to 5.6 million pounds,” according to an analysis released September 1 by the Center for Biological Diversity. The deadly cocktail that included benzene, hexane, sulfur dioxide, 1,3-butadiene, and xylene were dumped or spilled during the storm by ExxonMobil, Shell, and Chevron Phillips and other petrochemical giants over a period of eight days beginning August 23.

    Reports filed by the refining industry with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) confirmed that residents of Harris County and the surrounding area sustained 61 percent of the un-permitted emissions of toxic dumping than occurred in all of 2016. The dumping of these compounds included over 13 tons of benzene.

    Significantly, Houston, Texas has never met national air quality standards since the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970.

    Rest of real horror story here. 

    Grey, ravensong, 7wo7rees and 13 othersPastiche, Coldmountaintrail, twenty, Melissa G, nevereVereven, Passionate Progressive, xynthee, Haikugal, ctsnowman, daleanime, Tuesday, NV Wino, ChefEric like this
    Ignorance is the foundation of tyranny.   

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15 replies
  • ChefEric (250 posts)
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    1. I'm sure they'll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. nt

  • oldandhappy (4322 posts)
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    2. This is a horror.

    We are destroying the earth and people.

    Houston has never met air quality standards?  And it was never an election issue?

    Invest in people.  Seek TRUTH.
    • Ohio Barbarian (8976 posts)
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      4. I don't know. You'll have to ask Mary or Gryneos or someone who lives there.

      Ignorance is the foundation of tyranny.   
    • Gryneos (2303 posts)
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      7. Part of the problem is that ozone is produced by vehicles and industry.

      Mass transit here is inadequate, so when you read about us having 6.5 million people in the city and greater area, just imagine that each and every one of them own at least one car/truck (too many own two or more.) That’s a lot of pollutants. All of the industry along the Houston Ship Channel creates the rest, and it is a significant percentage (I have read at least 40% but can’t point to a source to back that up.)

      Also, in the summer, we often don’t get any breeze until the end of the day, long after readings have been taken (usually at the beginning of the day.) The air stagnates, and ozone levels begin to climb, along with the rest of the pollutants.

      As far as regulation goes, TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) is “supposed” to do something, but they’re really just a rubber-stamp permitting agency for the oil industry.

      Environmentalists Want EPA to Take Over TCEQ. They Know This Is Texas, Right?
      By Dianna Wray – Thursday, January 14, 2016 At 7 A.M.

      This story gives outsiders a good idea of what a joke the TCEQ is. It’s relatively short, so I recommend the read.

      And a little more from SWAMPLOT:

      How The TCEQ Helps Houston Air Stay So Fresh And Clean
      Combing through emissions reports for 20 local refineries and chemical plants from February 2003 through October of this year, reporter Chris Vogel notes how the peculiar accounting method employed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality seriously underrepresents Houston-area emissions events: “In slightly more than six and a half years, the 20 plants pumped out 4,864,730 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 452,080 pounds of carcinogens and a total of 20,716,547 pounds of pollutants during emission events . . . The Press discovered that individual chemicals at the 20 facilities exceeded the limit 12,701 times during the six and a half years. [But] TCEQ documents obtained through an open records request for the 20 plants show that the agency found 469 violations over the past six and a half years, 240 of which listed excess pollution during an emission event as the reason. Those 240 violations represent less than 2 percent of the number of times that individual pollutants exceeded their limit during emission events. Many people, including former TCEQ Commissioner Larry Soward, see this as one of the ways TCEQ gives industry a big break.” [Houston Press]

      "That's Jeff Vader, that is."__"I am not Jeff Vader, I am Darth Vader."__"What, Jeff Vader runs the Deathstar?"__"No, Jeff… No, I run the Deathstar."__"You Jeff Vader?"__"No, I'm Darth Vader!"__"Are you his brother? Can you get his autograph?"__"I can't get it… No, I'm… All right, I'm Jeff Vader! I'm Jeff Vader!"__"Can I have your autograph?"__"No, fuck off, or I'll kill you with a tray! Give me penne a la arabiata or you shall die. And you, and everyone in this canteen! Death by tray it shall be!" Eddie Izzard, Circle
    • Eggar (2136 posts)
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      8. it's people who manage to do crap like this

      that wipes out ecosystems & species that may somehow survive the shredding these hurricanes whallop them with




  • elias39 (5419 posts)
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    3. We know who runs the show. Big money.

    “A local environmental activist Juan Flores said, “a lot of people are afraid to talk, because their husbands work at the plants.” He also said many of the residents near the refineries want to see a doctor, but they have no insurance or means to pay.”

    This is just sad. And the big corporations have big time lawyers so forget about suing the bastards. Think ‘A Civil Action” from the 90s. I think it was in Woburn Mass, a leather processing company was responsible for several cases of leukemia. There was a settlement in the end but it was a bitch of a fight. And that was a relatively small-time company. Want to go up against a big oil company? Good luck.

    “Name, no, nothing is nameable, tell, no, nothing can be told, what then, I don't know, I shouldn't have begun.” ― Samuel Beckett, Stories and Texts for Nothing
    • Ohio Barbarian (8976 posts)
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      5. What do we want? JUSTICE! When do we want it? NOW!

      This is just so wrong in so many ways and would never have been allowed in a just society. Of course, capitalism isn’t about justice, it’s about profit.

      Ignorance is the foundation of tyranny.   
  • hypergrove (276 posts)
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    6. Don't turn them back on…. nt

    J ! Justice, Democrats, Justice ! P ! Primary the Corporatists ! R ! Roosevelt’s 2nd Bill of Rights !
  • vanflower (675 posts)
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    9. The article says corporations did this, but people did this

    and I cannot fathom why someone would knowingly do it, actualky flip the switch open the valve, but I am not so niave to know why…greed.

    Like the depressing post on herion, greed from the dealers, greed from people at the pharmaceutical companies and despair and hoplessness by the users.

    • Coldmountaintrail (6300 posts)
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      11. it's true people did it, but: they did it because they worked for corporations,

      who wanted it done.

      the workers didn’t want to lose their jobs; they also didn’t want to lose their livelihood by taking a stand.

      the orders come from the top.  the rest of us either buy in in one way (whole-heartedly) or another (uninterestedly) or another (apathetically) or another (fear of losing one’s livelihood, status, position, future).

      we’re all good nazis in one way or another, aren’t we?

      but the pressure comes from the top down.

  • Half Century Man (1454 posts)
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    10. Benzene…..look for a spike in Leukemia cases.

    My ride on the sled was Precursor T Lymphoblastic Leukemia, 15 years ago.

    Most probably caused by exposure to Benzene or Round Up.


    Side question, as to reasons why the plants kept such things in storage: Anyone have a recipe for the soup used in fracking? Last I knew, it was protected as a “Trade Secret” even though all the promo videos say the petrol pushers use “hot water under pressure” to frack.

    • Peace13 (1012 posts)
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      12. True

      Benzene exposure at 22 for my father followed by Leukemia at 65. He didn’t make it. These people who dump chemicals for a dollar bill are simply mass murders. Unfortunately, time will tell.

      Life's too short to vote for immoral warmongers.
  • Entrepreneur (2680 posts)
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    13. Of course they did. A toddler knows to throw his vegetables under the table

    when the dog is there to eat them.  It’s obvious that these murderous bastards know they can save millions in disposal fees by dumping during the storm while  happily poison millions of people.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness" - J.K. Galbraith
  • ravensong (2283 posts)
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    14. Sadly, few of us reading the OP are even the least surprised by this news.

    In fact, I suspect that the overwhelming majority of us expected them to do this, because we knew that they would recognize this crisis as a wonderful opportunity, that dumping their poisons during this crisis would be a perfect way to save money.

    Petrochemical companies are innately corrupt, and evil.  It is in their nature. Desecrating our world for money is what they do.

    Destabilize the 1%.  "Together, together, my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution, our revolution, continues"... ~ Bernie
    • Ohio Barbarian (8976 posts)
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      15. I wasn't surprised at all.

      PBNS. Pissed But Not Surprised.

      Ignorance is the foundation of tyranny.